Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Calcbench just published our latest quarterly analysis, for firms’ collective financial performance in Q1 2021 — and folks, we need to talk about net income. It went nuts.

We examined the Q1 financial disclosures of more than 3,400 non-financial firms, comparing this year’s numbers to first-quarter 2020. Net income rose by more than 1,900 percent, from a piddling $16.2 billion one year ago to more than $330 billion today.

In the abstract sense, that rebound isn’t a surprise. Q1 2020 was hammered by the COVID-19 pandemic, so naturally Q1 2021 would be much better as vaccinations spread across the United States and the economy kept reopening.

In the practical sense, however, with actual numbers staring you in the face — wow. We don’t even know what the correct verb should be here. Net income soared? Skyrocketed? Spiked? You tell us.

The rest of our Q1 2021 wrap-up (you can download the full analysis from our Research Page) tells a similar, if less dramatic, story. Revenue, cash, and cashflow from operations all rose at respectable rates; debt only crept up 1.3 percent; and operating expenses declined by 12.2 percent. Presumably that’s because firms were spending less on emergency supplies such as PPE or cleaning equipment.

Figure 1, below, shows the year-over-year change for all 3,400 firms we studied, across 11 types of financial disclosure. (Net income not included, because its 1,944 percent spike would ruin the visual representation of everything else.)

Beyond this aggregate analysis, we also studied a smaller group of roughly 1,500 firms in across 20 industry categories classified by SIC code: pharmaceuticals, surgical & biological goods, oil & gas, retail, motor vehicle parts, and others. Then we compared each industry’s quarterly numbers across seven major financial disclosures.

Figure 2, below, shows an example for cashflow from operations.

So enjoy our latest quarterly wrap-up, and check back in three months or so for Q2!

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